Predictive modeling of transient storage and nutrient uptake: Implications for stream restoration

Journal of Hydraulic Engineering
By: , and 



This study examined two key aspects of reactive transport modeling for stream restoration purposes: the accuracy of the nutrient spiraling and transient storage models for quantifying reach-scale nutrient uptake, and the ability to quantify transport parameters using measurements and scaling techniques in order to improve upon traditional conservative tracer fitting methods. Nitrate (NO3) uptake rates inferred using the nutrient spiraling model underestimated the total NO3 mass loss by 82%, which was attributed to the exclusion of dispersion and transient storage. The transient storage model was more accurate with respect to the NO3 mass loss (±20%) and also demonstrated that uptake in the main channel was more significant than in storage zones. Conservative tracer fitting was unable to produce transport parameter estimates for a riffle-pool transition of the study reach, while forward modeling of solute transport using measured/scaled transport parameters matched conservative tracer breakthrough curves for all reaches. Additionally, solute exchange between the main channel and embayment surface storage zones was quantified using first-order theory. These results demonstrate that it is vital to account for transient storage in quantifying nutrient uptake, and the continued development of measurement/scaling techniques is needed for reactive transport modeling of streams with complex hydraulic and geomorphic conditions.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Predictive modeling of transient storage and nutrient uptake: Implications for stream restoration
Series title Journal of Hydraulic Engineering
DOI 10.1061/(ASCE)HY.1943-7900.0000180
Volume 136
Issue 12
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher American Society of Civil Engineers
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Eastern Branch, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 15 p.
First page 1018
Last page 1032
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Angelo Coast Range Reserve, Elder Creek
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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